Has your child ever experienced a urinary tract infection?
Urinary tract infections (UTI) are common in children, more so in girls rather than boys. Sometimes the symptoms can be so subtle that it goes unnoticed by the child and parents.
Normal urine is free of germs (bacteria). However, bacteria can get into the urinary tract from two sources; the bloodstream or from the skin around the private area. The latter is usually the leading cause.
What could be the signs of a child having a urinary tract infection?
Pain or burning sensation while passing urine
Difficulty in passing urine
Increase in frequency of urination
Urgent need to pass urine or bedwetting in a toilet-trained child
Cloudy or bloody urine
Fever with or without side/back pain
These signs are usually seen in older children. In infants, the presence of irritability or poor growth should raise suspicion of a urinary tract infection.
How is urinary tract infection managed?
Once a urine test confirms urinary tract infection, prompt treatment with antibiotics is needed. Treatment should begin as soon as possible to prevent the spread of disease and reduce the risk of kidney damage. In children who developed this infection early in life, an ultrasound to detect any urinary tract abnormalities is important.
A urinary tract infection should not be taken lightly as repeated infections may lead to long term complications. Children who have had an episode of urinary tract infection may develop another in the future. Hence, parents should be aware of this possibility whenever a child falls ill.